Vice-President of Catalonia Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira invited the representatives of the EU state members to reflect on 'the anomaly' of excluding Catalan from the languages with official status in Europe · Next European Commissioner for Culture, Education and Multilingualism says EU has to 'go beyond' the number of languages currently recognized by the Union.
Catalan Vice-President Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira said in a speech before general directors and secretaries of the 27 member states of the European Union that Europe "must acknowledge its real and deep inner diversity", and added that a first step, which cannot be postponed, would be "to grant official status for languages as unquestionably strong as Catalan, a language used by 10 million European people on a daily basis". Carod-Rovira intervened at a dinner offered by the Catalan government in Barcelona on the occasion of the Spanish EU presidency.
Carod-Rovira called for the official status of the Catalan language to be granted, a status from which it has been excluded mostly due to the Spanish government's lack of political will. The Vice-President of Catalonia stressed the historical "pro-European" spirit of Catalonia, a "responsible nation in the context of European nations which seeks to play its own role and take its own responsibilities in the European-building process.
Current official languages in the European Union include only those languages with official status in the whole territory of state members. Catalan, as other languages in Spain, is officially recognized only in the autonomous communities where it is spoken, and therefore has not yet achieved the status it should have in Europe, in spite of having a higher number of speakers than many EU state languages -it is the 12th most spoken language in the Union-. The only concession made to non-state languages -particularly Catalan, Galician, Basque and Welsh- is the right of their speakers to address the European Commission and receive an answer from it in their mother tongue. This exception was negotiated with Spain and the UK, which assume the translation costs.
The Comissioner for Culture wants more languages
The future Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, stated in the European Parliament that the EU must "go beyond" the current 23 official languages. The declaration was made in response to a question by PSC (Catalan Socialist Party) MEP Maria Badia. According to Spanish newspaper ABC, Vassiliou said the linguistic diversity established in the Lisbon Treaty is not confined to state languages but also to "regional and minority" ones. She also added that the "400 languages of the immigrant community must be respected". However, the Cypriot commissioner explained that she has "no powers to propose the inclusion of new official languages, a measure that can only be taken by the Council of the European Union".